Dr Johnson Xuesong Shen
Senior Lecturer

Dr Johnson Xuesong Shen

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Senior Lecturer in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Founder and Director of UNSW Autonomy and Intelligence in CONstruction laboratory (AICON)


Research interests

Digital Twins and As-Built Building Information Modelling (BIM)

Construction Automation and Robotics

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Engineering Applications

Mobile Mapping with Light Detection and Ranging Technique (LiDAR)

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in Civil and Mining Applications

Emissions and Fuel Consumption Modelling of Construction Machinery

Courses taught

CVEN3101 Engineering Operations and Control

CVEN4102 Operations and Projects

CVEN9723 Design of Construction Operations

News and media coverage

2019-01-17: ABC News - Interview on Elon Musk's $1 Billion Blue Mountains Tunnel

2019-01-17: ABC Radio Sydney - Interview on Sydney Metro TBM Tunnel Construction

2019-02-07: UNSW CVEN - When a tunnel is not at all boring

2017-07-08: 9 News Sydney - Super drone

2017-05-24: UNSW Newsroom - Autonomous 3D mapping drone is a game changer

2017-05-23: NSW Department of Industry - TechConnect Global and Arludo showcase technologies

2016-11-14: UNSW CVEN - Inspiring Learning

2016-10-19: UNSW CVEN - State of the art construction model labs

2015-03-19: UNSW CVEN - Awards for Teaching Excellence

2017-07-21: UNSW CIES - Autonomous 3D mapping drone is a game changer

2017-06-23: Spatial Source - It’s here: 3D surveying in real-time with UAV-based LiDAR

2017-05-29: UNSW CVEN - Is it a bird? Is it a plane? 

2017-05-26: Australian Mining - UNSW develops autonomous 3D mapping drone

2017-05-25: Engineers Australia - Autonomous 3D mapping drone improves speed of asset surveys

2017-05-23: UNSW Engineering - Unlimited potential for real-time 3D laser surveying drone

2016-09-22: UNSW CVEN - Catching up with the UAVs


Top 10 Best Conference Papers, the 32nd International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction and Mining (ISARC2015), Finland, 2015

Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence (Led by Prof. D. Carmichael), UNSW Australia, 2014

Best PhD Student Paper Award, the 13th International Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality (CONVR), UK, 2013

Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Alberta, NSERC & TECTERRA, Canada, 2011-2013

Best Paper Award, the 2010 Construction Research Congress (CRC2010), ASCE, Canada, 2010

Most Cited Paper, Automation in Construction (Q1), Elsevier, 2007-2012

Recent research grants

2020-2030: Australian Government, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program, "Reliable Affordable Clean Energy for 2030 Cooperative Research Centre (RACE for 2030 CRC)".

2018-2020: UNSW Contract Research, RG181841 (CI: Dr. X. Shen and Prof. D. Carmichael, Industry Partner: Linke & Linke Surveys), "Evaluating Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) Sensors for Construction Mapping", $100,000

2018-2019: NSW Department of Industry – Boosting Business Innovation Program, RG182102 & RG161881AA (CI: Dr. X. Shen and Prof. D. Carmichael, Industry Partner: Smart Welding Solutions), "Construction Drilling Robot", $30,000

2017: NSW Department of Industry – Boosting Business Innovation Program, RG171715 & RG161881-F (CI: Dr. X. Shen, Industry Partner: Linke & Linke Surveys), "Real-time and Autonomous 3D Mapping of Construction Projects using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) based Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technique", $30,000

2017-2018: Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACAPR), C26030 (CIs: Dr A. Simit, Dr. X. Shen, Dr. H. Masoumi, and Prof. M. Schwensen), "Improved Structural Mapping of Pit Walls Using UAV Based Mobile Laser Scanning", $96,068

2014-2017: CRC for Low Carbon Living, RP1020 (CIs: Prof. S. Foster, Prof. J. Sanjayan, and A/Prof. A. Castel), "Performance based Criteria for Concretes: Creating Pathways for Low Carbon Concrete Manufacture with Existing Standards", $585,161

2014: UNSW Faculty Research Grant, “Integrated Machine Control and Guidance for Tunnel Construction in Curved Alignment”, $29,374

Recent learning and teaching grants

UNSW Learning and Teaching Innovation Grant, SEF#4 (with Prof. D. Carmichael), "Get Your Hands Dirty: Enhancing Learning Experience through Undertaking Scaled Construction Projects in Laboratory", 2015, $50,000


Number currently in lab: 5 PhD Candidates

Student Projects:

2017-2020: 3D Classification and Semantic Segmentation for Construction Jobsites based on Deep Learning

PhD Student: Yongzhi Xu

2014-2017: Emissions Modelling of Construction Equipment through Field Data Measurement

PhD Student: Khalegh Barati

2016-2019: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-based LiDAR Mapping for Forest Fuel Loading Estimation

PhD Student: Li Liu (Joint supervised with A/Prof. Samsung Lim in Surveying and Geospatial Engineering)

2014-2017: Vision-based Pose Estimation and Self-calibration for UAV Photogrammetry

PhD Student: Mohammad Ridhwan Tamjis (Joint supervised with A/Prof. Samsung Lim in Surveying and Geospatial Engineering)

2014-2016: Serviceability and Durability Investigation of Geopolymer Concrete with Embedded Sensors

MEng Student: Jerry Jin Dang

Looking for students for projects related to:

Machine Learning in Industrial and Engineering Applications

Automated As-built Modelling

Multi-sensor Integration for UAV Mapping

Vision & LiDAR SLAM

Photogrammetry and UAV LiDAR Scanning

Structural Health Monitoring

Fuel Consumption Modelling of Construction Machinery

Tunnelling Machine Control and Guidance

Wall Penetrating Radar for Non-destructive Utility Mapping

Proactive Construction Safety Management

Professional organisations

Associate Member, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

Member, International Association for Automation and Robotics in Construction (IAARC)

Member, Australian Network of Structural Health Monitoring (ANSHM)

Member, Australasian Tunnelling Society (ATS)


Ph.D. (Construction Engineering and Management), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

+61 2 9385 0483
Civil Engineering Building (H20) Level 2, Room 212 Kensington Campus
  • Journal articles | 2016
    Wu X; Lu M; Shen J, 2016, 'Computational Approach to As-Built Tunnel Invert Survey Based on Processing Real-Time TBM Tracking Data', Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering, vol. 30, pp. 05014012-1 - 05014012-10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CP.1943-5487.0000435
    Journal articles | 2012
    Shen X; Lu M, 2012, 'A framework for indoor construction resources tracking by applying wireless sensor networks', Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, vol. 39, pp. 1083 - 1088, http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/L2012-094